Today I read the news about Michael Crichton's passing. He is one of the authors I've met in person, because I had the privilege of introducing him two years ago at the National Press Club. Famous authors are at the Club all the time, and if I wanted to I could have played Zelig and created a wall full of those grip-n-grin photos that are so popular in Washington (not that they'd have a clue who I am), but seldom does meeting an author really matter to me. In Crichton's case it did. He had the sort of full-package career that I admired -- his movie directing was especially impressive, and I loved his way with a story ever since I saw Westworld as a kid. He annoyed a lot of people with his political positions, and that made me like him even better. His personality really didn't seem firebrandish, however. He was laid back and gracious (not all famous authors are that way), and easily conversational.
The photo above is a little better. It was taken by Bruce Guthrie, a photographer who comes to literary events at the National Press Club from time to time. We laughed most of the time that night -- I was choosing questions from the audience, and I tried to be a little off-the-wall because he seemed to enjoy shaking things up a bit. The face he's making is him getting ready to chuckle at a particular question.